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Wednesday, May 26, 1999 Published at 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK


UK Politics

Dewar urged to reveal Holyrood cost

The parliament has a temporary home on The Mound

The Scottish Tories have called on First Minister Donald Dewar to make a statement to MSPs about the "rising costs" of building the Holyrood Parliament.

With Mr Dewar's Scottish Cabinet meeting to outline its strategy for the forthcoming months, he faced growing pressure to review the Holyrood project.


[ image: Donald Dewar: Urged to reveal costs]
Donald Dewar: Urged to reveal costs
The parliament's business is being conducted in the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall on The Mound in Edinburgh until construction of the new building is completed in 2001

However, there is growing anxiety among some MSPs that the 50m budget has been greatly surpassed.

Last week, Liberal Democrat MSP Donald Gorrie and nationalist counterpart Margo MacDonald joined forces to allege the bill currently stands at 113m.

Mr Gorrie said future decisions over the final home of the parliament should be placed in the hands of MSPs and not be subject to "ministerial diktat".

Now the Tories say Mr Dewar should reveal the costs and explain why the bill is rising.

Project funding

They are challenging Mr Dewar to say how the project is being funded, and what other budgets are being "raided" to pay for what they have dubbed "an extravaganza".

A Tory spokesman said: "There is genuine concern about the cost of the parliament across all of the parties and we are calling for the Scottish parliamentarians to have control of the parliament.

We accept that the project has to go ahead but we want much greater restraint in terms of cost."

Meanwhile, Scottish National Party Leader Alex Salmond unveiled his shadow cabinet in the Scottish Parliament.


[ image: Alex Salmond;
Alex Salmond; "Stronger team"
Mr Salmond said the appointments represent a "far better and stronger team than the executive announced by Mr Dewar".

"It also represents all the different parts of Scotland - north, south, east and west - in a way that Donald Dewar's Executive woefully fails to," he said.

Deputy Leader John Swinney has moved from his campaign post of treasury spokesman to become shadow minister for enterprise and lifelong learning.

His treasury deputy Andrew Wilson, becomes shadow finance minister.

Roseanna Cunningham takes on the justice, equality and land reform portfolio while Nicola Sturgeon continues with her schools' brief as shadow minister for children and education.

Community care

Kay Ullrich is shadow minister for health and community care, while Alastair Morgan takes on the rural affairs portfolio.

Kenny MacAskill shadows transport and the environment and party chief executive Mike Russell, already appointed as parliamentary business manager takes on culture, broadcasting and Gaelic.

Housing and social justice will be handled by Fiona Hyslop, while local government is handed to Kenny Gibson.

The party has also appointed three spokesmen to handle reserved matters, with Colin Campbell continuing with his brief of defence.

Alex Neil takes on social security and Ian Hudghton, MEP, becomes Europe spokesman.



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